By Gbenga Gbelee
The Senate has today confirmed Justice Walter Onnoghen as the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.
The Senate voted to confirm Justice Onnoghen’s nomination after he fielded questions from the
lawmakers during his confirmation hearing in the hallow chamber today.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, commended Mr. Onnoghen for his enlightening presentation before
the law makers and thanked his colleagues who asked wide range of questions from the nominee.
Dr. Saraki descibed the screening and the eventual confirmation was a milestone.
Mr. Onnoghen fielded questions on various subjects, relating to the independence of the judiciary,
corruption in the judiciary, establishment of special courts for trial of corruption related cases and
respect for court rulings among others.
During the confirmation hearing, he asked to be excused from commenting on the delay in his
nomination and trial of judges for corruption.
Mr. Onnoghen’s name was forwarded to the Senate on February 8 for confirmation as a substantive
CJN by acting President Yemi Osinbajo, having been so recommended by the National Judicial
He assumed duty as acting chief justice on Nigeria on November 10, last year when he was so
appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari, following the retirement of Hon Justice Mahmud
The delay in nominating him to the Senate for confirmation had generated controversy, with
lawmakers from his home state accusing the President of sectionalism.
Mr. Onnoghen, 67, was born in Kruiku Town, Biase Local Government Area of Cross River State.
He bagged his Law degree from the University of Ghana, Legon, in 1977 before his BL certificate at
the Nigerian Law School in 1978.
He started his career as a Pupil State Counsel in the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, in 1979, after
which he ventured into private practice.
In 1989, he returned to public service as judge in the High Court of his native Cross River State.
He joined the federal judicial service in 1998 as Justice of the Court of Appeal, a position he held
until 2005 when he was elevated to the Supreme Court.
He is the first CJN from Southern Nigeria in the last three decades.